Option to take in-laws' chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KCLulamae, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. KCLulamae

    KCLulamae In the Brooder

    Mar 9, 2011
    DFW Texas
    My sister-in-law is DONE with chickens. They have had chickens for years, strictly for the eggs, not as pets. They free range during the day and she is tired of finding poop everywhere. So, my brother-in-law is charged with getting rid of the flock. They know I want chickens so it is understood we will take them off their hands once we get a coop completed.

    They are established egg layers, Ameraucanas they think. They lay colored eggs. I think they have 8-12 of them, all hens. That's about all I know.

    I have several concerns with taking their chickens and I'm not sure if I should be. I'm hoping y'all can help.

    1. We have to somehow transport the chickens to our home, 5 1/2 hours away, in our SUV. We're not sure how to accomplish this, at least not without making a mess in the car!

    2. How will chickens that have been free-ranged adapt to being confined to a run? We live in a subdivision and free-ranging is not an option for us.

    3. My biggest concern: We wanted chickens as pets with benefits (eggs). We have an 8 year-old and a 5 year-old and I'm afraid these chickens won't 'take to them.' I'm afraid since these chickens haven't been handled much that we will end up with an unruly bunch of birds who want nothing to do with us.

    I've been researching the 'chicken-thing' for awhile now and I had my heart set on certain breeds and raising them from babies. (Maybe this has tainted my opinion on taking the in-laws' birds.) My husband is just along for the ride on my chicken adventure so he is offering no opinion. Any help/advice you can offer is much appreciated. thanks! -kc

  2. poseygrace

    poseygrace Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    My advice? Skip the freebies and start from scratch (no pun intended) and get chicks.

    1) Transporting them will be a huge pain. Doable with a cage and cardboard underneath, but a pain none-the-less. You'll also need to provide food and water for the drive.

    2) They will NOT like being confined after free ranging. They may adjust, but they will try to bolt every time you open the door. That was my experience, at least.

    3) If they were kept for egglaying and not as pets, they will probably not be friendly. The older they are, the harder this is to change. If you want chickens for the kids to keep as pets, get chicks.

    One last thought... if you don't know how old they are, they may not have many years of laying left. Most layers start to decline at 2 years, and only lay half what they were at 3-4 years, then stop all together. There are TONS of exceptions to this rule, but it is generally true. I would at least ask how old these hens are.

    Good luck in your new chicken endeavors! I hope it's a great experience. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  3. SIMPleChick

    SIMPleChick Songster

    Mar 10, 2011
    If this were me, this is what I would do....

    1st: Go over with your family and interact with the hens and find 3-4 you really like, and seem to be the nicest when you offer them treats. (And look the best, smooth legs, smooth feathers)
    2nd: Only take those few home, if you can't let them out in your yard during the day and will be in a coop and run only. Large cardboard boxes, with air holes punched in sides and fold the tops in on eachother to keep it closed.
    3rd: See how you like those few hens, how your family does with them for a year and then decide where you want to go from there.

    I have 11 hens, and it doesn't seem to be too many but I let them around our back yard all day, we keep them in the run when we leave but if they had to stay in the coop and run 100% of the time Iwould only have a few. I do have to wash off our back porch every evening to get rid of the poo, but that doesn't bother me, it rinses right away and makes my grass soooo green. But I raised these from babies so I know how they act around my dogs and other people. Older chickens you just won't know right away.

    Good luck! Let us know what happens! [​IMG]
  4. SarahBeth9394

    SarahBeth9394 Songster

    Aug 23, 2008
    No way in heck would I go 5 1/2 for hens. Tell them to take part in the circle of life and eat their chickens. Get chicks and enjoy the process from the beginning.
  5. KCLulamae

    KCLulamae In the Brooder

    Mar 9, 2011
    DFW Texas
    Thanks for all the advice! I am going to pass on the in-laws' chickens. The idea of only picking a few is a good one but will not work in our case because it is an all-or-none offer. I'll start my flock next spring with day-old babies. This will give me plenty of time to get the coop just how I want it. thanks! -kc
  6. jomoncon

    jomoncon Songster

    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    Quote:I agree. If you get baby chicks, your children will just love the babies. Plus the chicks will become accustomed to being handled & will probably be much more friendly. I was 59 yo when I got my first baby chick & it was so much fin watching the babies grow up!

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